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In 1855 he was elected Governor of the State of Wisconsin. The seat was awarded to his opponent, but Mr. Bashford instituted quo warranto proceedings, and obtained the office in 1856 through a decree of the court.
During the winter of 1862–63, he was domiciled in Washington, but, being imbued with the spirit of the pioneer, he accompanied the officials appointed for the organization of the Territory of Arizona, arriving with the party at Prescott in the early part of the year 1864.
Mr. Bashford served as Attorney-General of Arizona; as President of the Council of the First Territorial Legislature, having been elected from the County of Pima, and as Delegate to Congress from Arizona in the 40th Congress. He was also Secretary of the Territory.
His duties as Attorney-General, which appointment he received at the hands of Governor Goodwin, called him to different parts of the Territory. Many of these journeys were made through the hostile Indian country, but he escaped attack from the Indians.
He was the first lawyer admitted to practice in the Territorial Courts. In May, 1864, he was admitted to practice at Tucson. His legal knowledge and ability were demonstrated in the early legislation of the Territory, particularly in the first session. In 1871 he compiled the various session laws into one volume, having been appointed to do this work by the Legislature. He was also re-elected to the second session of the Legislature. He was elected Delegate to Congress in 1866, and served until 1868. At the close of his term in Congress he was appointed Secretary of the Territory of Arizona by President Grant, and was re-appointed in 1873.
Tucson, having in the meantime, become the capital city, and he having large interests in Prescott, he resigned as Secretary of the Territory, and made his home in Prescott. He was active in political and professional affairs in the Territory up to a short time before his demise, which occurred in Prescott April 25th, 1878. His remains were interred at Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California, and the inscription upon his tombstone is one of his favorite quotations: “Write me as one who loves his fellowman. In every public position which he held, he discharged his duties with fidelity, intelligence and ability,
His widow, who survived him, and now resides in Oakland, bore the maiden name of Frances Adams Foreman, and was born at Seneca Falls, New York. Born of this union were seven children: Elizabeth, widow of G. A. Sprecher; Margaret, wife of R. H. Burmeister; William C., for a long time associated in business with Mr. Burmeister under the firm name of Bashford & Burmeister, and who died in Los Angeles, Calif., in 1915; Helen B., widow of W. E. Smith; Belle, who died at the age of eleven years; Lillian E., wife of A. W. Kirkland, and Edward L., of Oakland, California.
W. Claude Jones was a practicing attorney in Tucson. He left the Territory the following year. His subsequent history I have been unable to find.
The First Territorial Legislature continued in session until the 10th of November, devoting a great deal of its time to the adoption of a code of laws now known as the Howell Code. The Territory was divided into four counties, each named after a leading tribe of friendly Indians,
to wit: Pima, Yuma, Mohave, and Yavapai, and the boundaries of each county were defined in the Howell Code which was adopted by this Legislature on the 8th day of November, 1864.
"The Territorial Government is now fully organized in all its departments. Law and order everywhere prevail. The courts are in operation. Schools have been established in the leading settlements, and the printing press is doing its part to build up society, and to promote substantial prosperity.
“The day is not far distant when Arizona will occupy a first rank among the wealthy and populous states of the Union. The hostile savage is swept away; its mountains and valleys musical with busy implements of mining and agriculture, its unrivalled pastoral regions white with flocks, the wealth of its varied resources made apparent to the world, and its people thrifty and happy, the wonder will be that it was ever neglected by the government, and by capitalists as an insignificant and unpromising possession."
The foregoing is taken from the Journal of the First Legislature of Arizona, and may, therefore, be considered authentic. The printing press spoken of was the one mentioned by Mr. Banta as having been brought into the Territory by Secretary McCormick, and the first paper was issued on the 9th day of March, 1864. Mr. Banta, who accompanied the Governor's party in the capacity of bullwhacker, was employed as one of the first "typos” on this paper.
The only schools in existence were the Catholic schools at San Xavier del Bac, and Tucson, but other public schools were provided for by this Legislature.